Jill Balcon

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Jill Balcon
Born (1925-01-03)3 January 1925
Westminster, London, England
Died 18 July 2009(2009-07-18) (aged 84)
London, England
Spouse(s) Cecil Day-Lewis
(1951–1972; his death)
Children Daniel Day-Lewis
Tamasin Day-Lewis

Jill Angela Henriette Balcon (3 January 1925 – 18 July 2009)[1] was an English film and radio actress. She made her film debut in Nicholas Nickleby (1947), though she was best known for her stage, television, and radio work.

Life and career

Balcon was born in Westminster, London, the daughter of Aileen Freda Leatherman (1904–1988) and Michael Balcon.[2] Her family was Jewish, and originated in Latvia on her father's side and Poland on her mother's.[3][4] Balcon attended Roedean School.[5]

In 1951, Balcon married Anglo-Irish poet Cecil Day-Lewis, who was 20 years her senior and was married when they began their relationship. He was dividing his time between his mistress Rosamond Lehmann in Oxfordshire, his wife, Mary Day-Lewis, and their two teenage sons, in Devon.

Cecil Day-Lewis broke with both his wife and his mistress to be with Balcon for the remainder of his life (although reputedly he was no more faithful to Balcon than he had been to his first wife and to Lehmann). Balcon was cut off by her father when she married Day-Lewis in 1951.[6] Cecil Day-Lewis and Jill Balcon had two children: actor Daniel Day-Lewis and documentary filmmaker/television chef Tamasin Day-Lewis.

Balcon died of a brain tumour on 18 July 2009, aged 84.[7]


  1. Peter Stanford Obituary: Jill Balcon, The Guardian, 20 July 2009
  2. Deaths England and Wales 1984–2006
  3. Daniel Day-Lewis Unofficial Home Page
  4. Jackson, Laura (2005). Daniel Day-Lewis: the biography. Blake. p. 3. ISBN 1857825578. Michael Balcon's family were Latvian refugees from Riga who had come to England around the turn of the century. The family of his wife, Aileen Leatherman, whom he married in 1924, came from Poland.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Tom Vallance "Jill Balcon: Actress of stage, screen and radio who married the former Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis", The Independent, 30 July 2009
  6. The Guardian obituary: Jill Balcon, op cit
  7. The Stage obit for Jill Balcon

External links